Market Research Guide market research

The Voxco Guide to Market Research

Table of Contents

Introduction

Businesses and organizations across the world are focused on gathering data about product and consumer preferences. According to Statista, the market research industry has grown exponentially from $46.09 billion in 2014 to around $73.38 billion in 2019. Why is it so? How understanding the preferences of the target audience could have such a great impact? 

The answer is simple: Insights. 

Every brand is striving hard to target the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. Market Research helps to glean insights that can direct future strategies in a more informed manner. As technology has empowered customers and they make buying decisions on their own, it has become imperative to understand the way users research and shop. 

We’ve compiled a guide to help you uncover the essentials of market research – to delve deeper into your target market and discover the drivers behind customer behavior.   

01

What is
Market Research?

Market research is the process of gathering insightful data about market trends as well as customers’ behaviors and preferences. It plays a crucial role in understanding buyer personas and target audience which helps to determine the viability and effectiveness of your product/service. Market Research helps you gain insights into questions such as: 

  • What are the current market opportunities for my product or service?
  • Where does my brand stand in front of the competitors? 
  • What kind of customers are most likely to purchase my product? 
  • Which advertising campaign should I deploy to target my customers?

02

Why should you focus
on Market Research?

Market Research Guide market research
  • Steers your business strategy
    By providing key insights about customers as well as competitors, market research makes it clear for you to reach out to the right audience, identify the right channel, and understand what they’re interested in. This helps to spot ideal opportunities and plays a key role in giving direction to your business strategy. 
  • Lowers business risks 
    A regular stream of sales and customers is essential to ensure a business survives for long. That’s where market research plays a crucial role. By keeping a tab on current and potential customers, it helps you check if you’re meeting their needs or not. Moreover, it lets you test your products before launching them and uncover the reasons why your customers don’t come back. By gaining insights into such problem areas, you can minimize the business risks. 
  • Boosts promotional strategy
    Have you ever wondered what content should you write to reach out to your target audience? What images should be added to your website, emailers, or social media accounts? No worries, with market research you know what you need to do. Since it makes you aware of the needs and choices of your target audience, you know whom to address and how to address them while creating promotional content.  
  • Outsell competitors easily
    To win more in business, it’s essential to know your customers better. By uncovering the customers’ needs and reaching out to them at every touchpoint, market research makes it easy to stand out among competitors. In fact, it lets you discover your underserved customer segment, target dissatisfied customers, and understand their unaddressed needs which help to outsell your competition. 

03

What are the types
of Market Research?

Primary Research
Primary research is the type of research that involves gathering information for the first time. This research is usually conducted by yourself (or you can hire someone to do it for you.) It includes going directly to customers or prospects in your target market and asking questions to collect information. While the research can be either qualitative or quantitative, the most critical factor is it hasn’t been conducted earlier. Some examples involve:

    • Online Surveys 
    • Interviews (telephone or face-to-face)
    • Focus groups
    • Visiting competitors’ locations
  • Quantitative Research
    Quantitative research can help you gather structured and numerical data leveraging statistical analysis (which involves basic averages to predictive analytics). As numerical results are simple to summarize/ aggregate, this research can be effortlessly done at scale and with a huge sample size too.
  • Qualitative Research
    Qualitative research involves diving deeper into a specific topic for understanding the subjects’ experiences as well as perceptions in detail. It helps to explore and solicit unstructured information which includes text, images, and videos, and summarizing those findings into particular themes. Due to this, qualitative research is conducted with a smaller sample size – which ranges between 5 to 20 research subjects.

Secondary Research
Secondary research is the kind of research where the data is already gathered, consolidated, and summarized by others. It mainly includes reports or detailed studies by government bodies, trade agencies, and other established businesses in an industry. Since this type of research is quick and more affordable than primary research, it’s usually preferred by small businesses that have limited budgets.

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04

Tips to consider while doing
Market Research

Are your surveys the right length?

  • I get that it’s nice to glean as many insights as you can in one go. However, you need to be careful about just how many questions you can ask your respondents, or risk having a higher drop-off rate.
  • This also pushes up the cost of the project, with you having to recruit more respondents by any means possible. 

Avoid last-minute changes to the logic

  • It’s not feasible to completely avoid last-minute changes, but one usually doesn’t have the time to properly test their effect on preceding logic.
  • This can break your survey logic under certain conditions and cause unexpected problems during the execution phase. However, there are a few market research survey software’s which are capable of implementing last-minute changes even while the survey is being conducted without breaking the survey logic. 

Are the results easy to decipher?

  • Market Research survey software will fetch you a lot of data, but you need to be certain about just how much of that information needs to be on display.
  • Your insights need to be succinct, and specific about what they relate to.
  • Then there’s the visual factor – It’s important to pepper your reports with data, but you need to be judicious with its usage so that it remains legible for all parties involved.

Don’t let bias get in the way

  • Everyone has a bias – it’s only human, after all. However, as a researcher, you need to be aware of your bias to make sure it doesn’t become a factor in your surveys.
  • Then, there are the results. It’s natural to have certain expectations from data generated by a market research survey software, but the key is to be impartial and try not to use the findings in a way that suits your narrative.

Be open to more research options

  • Sure, you probably know what works for you best, but it’s always a good idea to open up your survey parameters. Researchers are quite aware of just how volatile the market can be, and today’s omnichannel survey software can be extremely effective in targeting a large sample size via several avenues (web surveys, telephone-based, in-person, etc.)

Is your sample size large enough?

  • A large sample size no doubt costs more, but the benefits are also greater. You get access to a less homogenous group of respondents and are likely to get better, more relevant insights. 
  • Having a diverse demographic take part in your survey can also provide you with insights that can help you plan ahead, and can be an effective driver for future growth.  

05

Making the most of your
Market Research Survey

Market Research Guide market research
  • Start simple
    At the beginning of your survey, include questions that do not require respondents to think much. Adding open-ended questions at the start may lead to dropout which can lower your survey’s completion rate. Also, do not include lengthy intros or large rating scale questions on the top of your survey.
  • Begin with screening questions
    In case you need to target a particular group of people, adding screening questions at the start will help you disqualify respondents that are irrelevant for your survey. For instance, placing demographic questions will help you confirm your respondent’s age, gender, location, or whatever details you want to know for your research.
  • Keep a check on page breaks
    Adding too many page breaks may annoy your respondents. However, there are instances where page breaks are necessary too (like after the screening questions or in case of skip logic). As page breaks play an important role in distinguishing different themes, maintaining the right balance is crucial while including page breaks.  
  • Give your respondents a way out
    While creating a market research survey, it’s imperative to ensure every respondent who participates is able to answer every question – even if the question is not relevant. Thus, you should always include options like “others” or “none of the above” in the survey answers.
  • Value your respondents’ time
    As most respondents would not like to engage in surveys that are too long or irrelevant, you need to be considerate of their time. By giving your customers an estimated time of survey completion, you can convince them to participate in your survey. Also, keep the duration of your surveys up to 10 mins only (or 15 mins max). You can even pre-notify your respondents about forthcoming surveys as it increases the response rate by 4 to 29%.
  • Incentivizing respondents can do wonders
    You need to ask yourself this question – “why would the respondents be taking up my survey?” Although goodwill plays an important role in obtaining information from respondents, you cannot rely on it completely. Providing incentives always goes a long way as it helps in boosting the response rates of your surveys by 5 to 20%.
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06

What are the steps to conduct
Market Research?

  • Identify your buyer personas
    To effectively understand the buying patterns of customers, it’s important to know them first, i.e. who they are. Creating a buyer persona helps to effortlessly reach and target the audience in your industry. While creating personas, you need to focus on characteristics like age, gender, location, income, family size, job titles etc.
  • Define your objectives
    Start by setting up your goals, i.e. what do you want from your research, how will it add value to your brand? Have you figured out the benefits that your customers want? This benchmark will prevent you from losing sight of your market research survey’s purpose while helping you visualize the results too. Without analyzing your objectives, you might get data from the research but not the required insights you need! 
  • Set your priorities right
    Once you identify buyers and finalize your goals, you can shortlist the content and frame the questions accordingly. While setting up a market research survey, you need to include questions based on priority. Also, it’s important to check if people are comfortable answering each question.
  • Use the right question types for research
    As respondents are going to interact with your brand through surveys only, it’s essential to include questions that provide the best information. Also, you should avoid using questions that are biased or leading as these undermine the validity of the results. You can use clear dichotomous (yes/no), rank order, open-ended text, slider, matrix table, multiple-choice questions as per your choice.
  • Identify your competitors wisely
    It’s important to keep an eye on companies whose products/services match with yours. Also, you need to determine the industry you’re pursuing. To review market forecasts on the industry leaders, you can download the market reports by Forrester. Also, using social media the right way can help you discover the ideal competitors for your industry. For instance, LinkedIn lets you refine your search on the basis of a particular industry you’re pursuing.

One Platform for your Market Research Needs

Trusted by the Top 50 Market Research firms & Global Brands in 40+ countries since 1976, Voxco offers flexible & powerful omnichannel survey tools to handle all your market research needs. Get ready to unlock actionable insights with professional-grade market research tools – built for and by researchers.  

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